I learned a lot while making this recipe. Here are my top three – and then on to the food…
First: it is very important to choose your butcher carefully when you get seafood. I mistakenly used a grocery store butcher that I usually trust. Apparently the betray you when it comes to seafood. The salmon wasn’t scaled properly and still had all it’s pin bones. And, not only that, but the cut was uneven. I wound up slicing off a decent amount of fish that wasn’t really usable to get even portion sizes! I was pretty disappointed. So make sure you choose a reputable seller, double check that they scaled and removed the bones prior to purchasing, and then hope you have a very sharp knife if they don’t cut evenly!
If you do get unlucky enough to have to debone the fish yourself it’s really easy. Just annoying. Wash a pair of pliers with hot water and soap. Carefully push the flesh of the salmon in and grasp the tip of the pin bone. Pull it as carefully as you can to prevent the flesh from ripping. It’s not bad if it does, it just isn’t as pretty anymore. Make sure you get all the bones – you’ll be able to feel them if you gently run your hand down the length of the fish. If you are doubly unlucky and they didn’t remove all the scales just flip the salmon over to skin side up. Run the blade of the knife down the fish and watch all the clear, inedible scales pop off. But you can always skip both these steps by choosing a better store! Which I will do for all my fish from now on.
Second: experimenting with a very basic, traditional recipe turns out sub-par results. I tried really hard to fiddle with this this recipe a bit and make it my own. Turns out this recipe is so straight forward it doesn’t do well with a lot of tweaking. I tried the sauce twice before I finally gave up and realized sometimes the old school way is the best way.
Third: no matter how many times I try it I really, really hate salmon. It’s very fishy, even fairly fresh, and fatty. The flavor is just… not my favorite. If I’m going to spend this much on a protein you can bet it’ll be something I actually want to eat. Unlucky for me, there are still a handful of salmon recipes left in the official Breath of the Wild guide…
You’ll find a lot of themes in these recipes. One of them is to allow the meat to warm up to room temperature and to pat it dry before seasoning. I explain why in my Meat and Rice Bowl recipe. And that’s exactly how we are going to start salmon meunière – take the salmon out of the fridge about 30 minutes before cooking and allow to warm up to room temperature.
While it’s warming up wash and pull the leaves off the parsley. It’s pretty easy, actually. Just grab the stems and line up the leaves, place the knife edge down right at the base of the leaves, and gently but firmly pull the parsley through the knife blade. It’ll get most of the stems off and leave you with a nice pile of leaves. And no, it’s not one of the piles that hides a korok seed. Sorry. Roughly chop the parsley into pieces, they don’t have to be perfect. You’ll want a small handful of parsley. If you’re using fresh lemon cut it in half and squeeze the juice of one of them. You only need 3/4 tablespoon so no need to go crazy. Smash the garlic by placing the flat of a knife blade against the garlic clove and smash your hand into the blade. Never do this on the edge of the knife and never smash the knife down – both these could result in some serious cuts and I refuse to be held responsible for that. When the garlic is smashed peel off the skin. Get the butter cut and ready to go and play a few rounds of Splatoon 2 until the salmon is ready.
When you’re ready to cook pat the salmon dry and season with kosher salt and pepper. Turn your burner on to medium, add your oil, and get your pan nice and hot. When the pan is hot add the butter. Be really careful, the butter will splatter and pop as the water cooks out of it! We add the salmon when the butter stops popping so when the mixture starts to calm down spread the flour out on a plate and dip and pat the salmon into the flour to completely coat it. This is called dredging and it’s a pretty awesome technique to get a nice, crispy, almost fried skin. Make sure you don’t dredge too early or the flour just gets soaked into the fish and it doesn’t fry quite as well.
Add the fish to the pan, skin down, laying it away from you to prevent any oil splatters. Let it cook for 3-4 minutes on this side then flip the fish and allow it to cook for 3 more minutes. Take it out of the pan, place it on a plate, and cover with foil. You’ll want to do this next part quickly – the longer the fish sits under that foil the less crispy it gets!
Using a few paper towels rolled in a ball and a heavy duty oven mitt pour out the oil into a heat safe container and wipe the inside of the pan. We don’t want to keep any of the old mixture since it’s likely to burn if it cooks too long.
Add the new butter and smashed garlic and wait for it to melt and cook down. It will take 2-3 minutes to turn brown and nutty and delicious. Remove the pan from the heat (don’t follow my photo example and just turn off the heat. It’s not good enough!). Add the lemon and parsley and stir to combine. Again, use caution, this mixture may splatter as well. Uncover the fish, pour the sauce over, and serve immediately. PS- if your pan is still really hot your parsley may brown pretty quickly and it’ll make your sauce look a bit burned. I promise, if you use this recipe it won’t burn and will still taste good!
Link’s Salmon Meunière
- Tabantha Wheat
- Goat Butter
- Hearty Salmon
Salmon drizzled with a meunière butter lemon sauce
- 2 8 oz portions salmon
- 1-2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1-2 teaspoons pepper
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 3/4 tablespoon lemon juice (juice from half a small lemon)
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2-3 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 1 large garlic clove, smashed
- Warm the salmon to room temperature.
- Using the blade of your knife pull the leaves off the parsley by gently but firmly running the blade along the stems. Roughly chop into small pieces.
- Cut the lemon and juice one half, making sure not to get any seeds in the juice.
- Using the flat of a knife blade smash the garlic and remove the skin.
- Pat the salmon dry and season with kosher salt and pepper.
- Heat a pan over medium with the oil.
- When the oil is hot add the butter. Be careful, as this will splatter and pop until all the water is cooked out of the butter.
- When the butter mixture starts to calm down add the flour to a plate and dredge the salmon by patting it into the flour. Immediately add the salmon to the pan, skin down, by laying it away from you.
- Cook the salmon for 3-4 minutes, turn, and cook for another 3 minutes.
- Remove the salmon and cover with foil.
- Acting quickly pour the remaining oil mixture out of the pan and wipe out with paper towels. Be careful not to burn yourself and use proper heat proof equipment.
- Add the 5 tablespoons of butter and garlic to the pan and allow to melt and brown, about 2-3 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add the lemon and parsley. Again, use caution when you add the lemon because it may splatter and pop.
- Immediately pour over the salmon filets and serve.